SFMTA study on late night transportation

Muni at night

The ability to efficiently travel to and from bars, restaurants, nightclubs and live music venues at night is critical to the economic well-being of the nightlife and entertainment industry, the safety of nightlife patrons, and the health of the neighborhoods where nightlife establishments are located.

On Friday, September 20, 2013, SFMTA conducted a survey on late night transportation in conjunction with the San Francisco Entertainment Commission and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development of nightlife patrons arriving at several nightlife establishments on Polk Street between Bush Street and Sutter Street to assess patrons’ current late night transportation practices. The survey polled 120 people about how they arrived at Polk Street and how they intended to leave later that evening.

Among the survey’s key takeaways:

  • Most respondents identified four primary methods of traveling to/leaving Polk Street: ”walk” (27% arriving; 19% leaving), “car/private vehicle” (26% arriving; 25% leaving), “taxi” (14% arriving; 18% leaving), “Uber/Lyft/Sidecar” (18% arriving; 17% leaving);
  • Less than ten percent of respondents indicated that they arrived or planned to leave using MUNI;
  • Roughly equal numbers of respondents identified “taxi” and “Uber/Lyft/Sidecar” as their method of transportation to or from Polk Street – together, these categories made up thirty-two percent of arrivals and forty-one percent of departures;
  • Seventy percent of respondents planned to leave Polk Street at 1am or later;
  • Over a third of respondents were unaware of overnight MUNI and transbay bus services, while an additional twenty percent of respondents were aware of these services but did not generally know their routes;
  • Respondents identified “ease of access” as the most important factor in selecting a mode of late night transportation (31%), with “speed” (26%), “safety” (22%), and “cost” (17%) identified as factors in decreasing frequency (respondents were allowed to choose more than one answer);
  • In answering a free-response question about what could be done to improve nighttime transportation, respondents most commonly offered two answers: “increase frequency of buses/more late night bus service” (29% of survey respondents; 44% of free response answers) and “implement late night BART service” (15%; 23%);

You can read the results of the survey in the MTA memo below.